Declining intelligence in old age linked to visual processing (Science Daily):
“Researchers have uncovered one of the basic processes that may help to explain why some people’s thinking skills decline in old age…
“The results suggest that the brain’s ability to make correct decisions based on brief visual impressions limits the efficiency of more complex mental functions,” says Stuart Ritchie of the University of Edinburgh. “As this basic ability declines with age, so too does intelligence. The typical person who has better-preserved complex thinking skills in older age tends to be someone who can accumulate information quickly from a fleeting glance.”
The results provide evidence that the slowing of simple, visual decision-making processes might be part of what underlies declines in the complex decision making that we recognize as general intelligence. The results might also find practical use given the simplicity of the inspection time measure…”
Study: A strong link between speed of visual discrimination and cognitive ageing. (Current Biology)
- Abstract: Attempts to explain people’s differences in intelligence and cognitive ageing often hypothesize that they are founded substantially upon differences in speed of information processing …We measured visual ‘inspection time’, a psychophysical indicator of the efficiency of the early stages of perceptual processing , in a large (n = 628 with full data), narrow-age sample at mean ages 70, 73, and 76 years…Results showed a moderate correlation between inspection time performance and intelligence, and a strong correlation between change in inspection time and change in intelligence from 70 to 76. These results support the processing speed theory of cognitive ageing. They go beyond cross-sectional correlation to show that cognitive change is accompanied by changes in basic visual information processing as we age.